Subject: certification--again
From: Joanne Wittenbrook <jwittenbrook -at- ameritech -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2007 14:34:07 -0800 (PST)

> not all TWs do contract work, many are, or wish to be employed
>by an enterprise on a full time basis. Because of this, they must go
>through the applicant process, which for many companies today, includes
>an electronic scan of the resume that looks for specifics such as
>degrees and certifications. Those resumes that do not contain text on a
>required degree or specialized certification, are NOT passed on to the
>HR person for review.

Well there you have it. In 1980 I graduated with a degree in art. I became interested in technology, writing and training. I've taken many workshops and seminars, have a project management certification and a portfolio of technical writing samples. I can build a computer from the ground up and troubleshoot a network.

But the art degree in 1980 has more weight than the last 26 years of business and technical experience. That is part of the issue with the scanned resume.

IF I get an interview, no problem, but I've had a couple of phone interviews where the first question was about my degree. When I tell them it is a BFA, I get this sort of "oh" answer.

The reality is that many people in the workplace end up in career paths that did not exist when they went to college. This is especially true of anyone involved in technology that is over 30. There was no such thing as a major in technical writing when I went to college. There was English, Journalism and the ever popular Liberal Arts. The system of screening and hiring applicants needs to work for everyone, not just recent college graduates.

Certification has its place, and it has become popular because everyone knows that there are paths to knowledge and careers that may not involve a typical four-year college.

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